Thursday, 24 January 2013

Attractive European And North American Art Beads

One of a kind poured and carved plastic resin beads made by New York designer Cara Croninger in 1983. A pioneer in working this material into jewelry, Croninger has mastered transforming the liquid resin into imitations of almost any conceivable material, including amber ivory marble, crystal, emeralds, and granite. Although made of plastics, her jewelry's strong and attractive primitive qualities are the result of both her search for universal imagery as well as her ingenious production methods. Liquid resins with added pigments or dyes are poured into molds. The material hardens into blocks in the molds, which are then sawed into cubes and carved into beads.
Twentieth century beads from Europe and North America display a great diversity of materials and techniques and reflect widely varying lifestyles. In previous eras, one type of jewelry often remained in use for prolonged spans of time. During this century, however, profound changes in technology, communications, and economic structures have altered every aspect of life. It is not surprising that the making and wearing of jewelry would be affected along with so much else. Perhaps the one overarching theme has been change, clearly operative in all forms of adornment, including beads. At the same time, however, necklaces of round beads made in traditional materials stone, glass, metal, amber, and pearls continue to have a timeless appeal.

The period we designate "contemporary" began after World War II, when a series of events strongly influenced the direction jewelry continues to take. Following the war, the rising affluence of the West continued to expand the large market for medium-priced jewelry. At the same time, the development of inexpensive commercial air transportation made international travel accessible to everyone. Trips to Asia, Africa, and South America exposed tourists to exotic ethnic groups and their colorful and appealing, handcrafted (frequently beaded) jewelry Furthermore, due to the speed of travel and communications, it became possible to keep up with the latest ideas. 

Contemporary beads by Ivy Ross. Gold leaf is applied over half-domes of acid-treated niobium, a natural element used by builders of spacecraft. The beads' domed forms are separated by wood spacers because the material has such a high melting point that it cannot be soldered with usual jewelry equipment.As a result, contemporary jewelry and beads rarely exhibit national characteristics, and works of highly diverse cultures show a decided kinship in the use of forms, materials, concepts, and techniques. A massive international exchange of information truly has created a world jewelry community.

Contemporary jewelry can be classified into three branches: precious one-of-a-kind jewelry from traditional firms, including Cartier, Tiffany, and Bulgari; costume or fashion jewelry usually of mass-produced, inexpensive materials; and artist-craftsman jewelry, frequently produced ih small workshops, where innovative designs and combinations of materials are used.

Contemporary artist-craftsmen are currently creating the most innovative and exciting beads. Most reject the notions of jewelry being investments or short-lived fashion. Value is related to the craftsmanship and the expression of ideas rather than the monetary worth of rare and precious materials. There is no limit to forms and materials used. Gold, silver, and other precious and semiprecious materials are frequently employed in combination with wood, glass, bone, stainless steel, paper, brass, copper, acrylic, and fabric. A shared sensibility seems to be the reevaluation of how materials could and should be used.

Robert Ebendorf created this necklace with beads made from Chinese newspaper. Two beads are covered with lacquer and 24-karat gold foil, separated by silver; copper, and ebony components.It is interesting to note that most jewelry techniques and materials used today were known in Roman and possibly earlier times. With the exception of help from recent centrifugal-casting, vacuum-forming, drawplating, and electroplating techniques, almost every piece of jewelry made today could have been produced two thousand years ago. The technical and chemical knowledge is now greater, but the techniques were known. The few new bead materials used by craftspeople include plastics and metals connected with the aerospace industry, such as titanium, tantalum, and niobium. There is also much experimentation with joining metal alloys of different compositions "married metals" (Bead Chart 1306). 

 Writer –Lois Sherr Dubin 
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